Presentation on theme: "Media Center Grants: They Just Make Cents! created by Alison Holley Library Media Specialist at Girard Middle School Dothan, AL January 07, 2011."— Presentation transcript:
Media Center Grants: They Just Make Cents! created by Alison Holley Library Media Specialist at Girard Middle School Dothan, AL January 07, 2011
Purposes To encourage you as a Library Media Specialist to look for other sources of enhancing the school media center in todays economy; To share my personal experience and discuss the process from the beginning to the end on my three successful grant journeys; To stimulate other fellow media specialists to search and pursue grant opportunities for the students benefit; and To emphasize the idea that you dont have to be an expert in grant writing in order to be an effective advocate for your school library media center.
My library career started four years ago at Girard Middle School in Dothan. The school served 425 students. The heart of the school was and still is the LMC. The wants and needs of the diverse student and faculty body far surpassed the limited availability of funds and outdated facility and resources. In 2007, the State Library Enhancement fund was reduced while GMS joined with ARI-PAL and Making Middle Grades Work in an effort to improve literacy and stress the importance of reading in/outside the classroom. The Library struggled to support MMGW goals and the schools needs. Short History/How I decided to apply
Short History (continued) In 2008, Dothan City Middle Schools were re-zoned, and GMS was designated a non-magnet school; enrollment increased (over 550 students) and 20% of our population required Special Education services; Also, proration hit so there was no money for new books or any other necessary resources. I DECIDED TO SEARCH FOR GRANTS. I APPLIED ONLINE AND EVEN MAILED REQUESTS TO VARIOUS AGENCIES FOR NEW BOOKS.
Data and Statistics that Most Grants Require Demographics (White, African American, Hispanic, Asian or if your school has another demographic include that, also if you have an English as a Second Language be sure to include that statistic too) Poverty level (free/reduced lunch; we were at 82%) Financial breakdown of the media center Goals of the school (ARI and Making Middle Grades Work: I tried to relate that to reading/literacy and bring in how strong media centers improve testing scores. I included statistics showing the relationship of great media centers improving test scores) The age of the collection and the areas of need (I used a book vendor, uploaded our MARC records and then they evaluated the collection for me) The schools TAX Identification Number is often required (It should be available through your local schools front office staff. If not call your local board of education office and ask for financial services; someone will be able to get this number for you)
My Advice Work with your administration to update your schools statistics as needed and tuck it away for future use. Survey the students and teachers for their book recommendations and desires. Surveys are powerful tools to use in grants! Before you decide to apply, read the grant thoroughly to make sure you meet the eligibility guidelines and criteria. No one wants to spend all the time and effort on a grant that is going to be unsuccessful from the get go!
STAY POSITIVE & KEEP TRYING! While applying for grants, my usual daily library media responsibilities at Girard Middle School continued, so I chose to use my personal time (weekends and summer vacation days) to find and fill out grant applications. I did not get positive responses from every grant.
My first successful endeavor The Lowes Toolbox for Education Grant (up to $5,000) Steps I Followed 1.I read through the grant pre-Application checklist to make sure we qualified (public schools only, USA only, only one applicant per school, etc.) 2. I gathered information needed including demographical information of the school, age range of students, fax numbers, etc. 3.I answered the questions in basic language trying to express our needs as well as possible and still appeal to the grant reader. Using basic language can be an exercise in synonyms: rather than saying our average copyright is out of date, I would say it is woefully out of date. 4.Once I received the grant and purchased the books, I promoted the grant via news releases, website and through students in the school. I said to the students, When you go shop at Lowes, tell the employees that you are a student here and you are glad to have the new books. I catalogued the books as Lowes Grant books.
My first successful endeavor The Lowes Toolbox for Education Grant ($5,000 of books)
My second successful endeavor The Lowes Charitable Education Foundation Steps I Followed: 1.Read over the application process to be sure my school qualified. 2.Discussed projects with the store manager. 3.Got the pre-approval from my CFO/school board. 4.Used words to best express what I wanted to accomplish through the project. 5.Considered GREEN PROJECTS, collaborated with the PTO members, and looked into the community for valuable expertise. 6.Used volunteers to make ideas a reality.
My second successful endeavor The Lowes Charitable Education Foundation ($60,455 Grant)
My third successful endeavor WE THE PEOPLE BOOKSHELF GRANT Steps I Followed: 1.Read the information about the grant online to be sure we qualified. 2.Read other schools proposals which were posted online to help schools get ideas for their own proposals. 3.Formulated a plan to promote the books knowing the student population and our teachers. 4.Entered the seven sections, said a silent prayer, and submitted the application. 5.Once the books came in, I placed a sticker on the spine and catalogued them as grant books.
My third successful endeavor WE THE PEOPLE BOOKSHELF GRANT (16 classic books on American history, culture, and ideas)
The GRANT Writing Process Questions & Tips 1. Where Do I Start? Ideas/Planning Think about what you would like to change in the media center. Do you want new books? Is there a need or deficit in a particular area? Do you need updated technology? How about iPads, Kindles, new circulation desk? Begin with the end in mind…Look at your organizations big picture: Who are you? What are your strengths and priorities? Plan some more…Do your homework: Research prospective funders; Search locally first.
The GRANT Writing Process Questions & Tips 2. Who Do I Target? Research Look for funding opportunities. I found grants that promoted Science and Math. The library definitely needed books and resources in that area, but our science and math classes need hands-on resources. I looked for grants that would benefit the curriculum and was willing to do the grant work for the teachers. 3. What Do I Do? Proposal After knowing my area of need, I wrote a proposal that would align with the goals of the school. Literacy was (and continues to be) our big concern. We want to increase standardized testing scores and meet AYP goals. I needed to be able to craft a proposal to communicate the needs of our school and the media center.
Possible resources for grant opportunities Look online Mackin.com has a grant page that gives grant writing tips, grant opportunities, etc. Look locally for grants. Our area has a foundation which wants to improve education. It is called Education Foundation for Dothans Future. Alabama Power offers grants. Dollar General may have a store in your area; they also offer grants.
Fellow media specialists: I encourage each of you to reach out to your peers in your school systems to share grant opportunities and expertise…become a valuable resource!